Sunday, October 30, 2016

I knew It

I knew my something would be aching today. My neck and left shoulder is somewhat cricked. I took a couple of trips during yesterday's orienteering. I recovered myself without fully going to ground but I did wonder if I'd be aching today because of the jarring. It has eased through the day so all's well that ends well.

Saturday, October 29, 2016


of three - with another twenty six out running. So by the time the last orienteer is in that could well turn out to be 27th of 29. But still, it's the only time I've a first place on the score printout - even if it did only last a few minutes.

Overall I had a pretty decent run out. True, I was not quick over the ground but I was focused on the navigation and I was pretty accurate - most of the time. There was a little hiccup at control eight. I sited the wrong group of track junctions and ended up east of where I needed to be so lost a bit of time tracking back and then I dilly-dallied at ten. I was very close but just didn't quite have my location bang on with the map. After that I was back on the money - the slow money, but never the less the money - and finished the course without further issue.

Pretty pleased with the days effort and for once my GPS route plot does not look like a spider has crawled all over it!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Returning To The Scene Of My First Crime...

Cleeve Hill Orienteering, based out of the south east corner. I've been back to Cleeve for orienteering since then but never from the South East. Starting there is going to bring back some traumatic memories. To say it was not a good day is a slight understatement. In my defence it was my first time. For the prosecution I was a bloody nobber for selecting the blue (hard) course for my first time out - but I was young and care free back then..... and some might say I'm still a nobber for continuing with the blue courses!

Anyway, I'm looking forward to a spot of orienteering tomorrow. I will no doubt be a bit rusty but hopefully I'll go a little better than I did back in 2011.

For a little nostalgia I've copied my blog post of the fateful day from back in the day....

Not Quite How I Had Envisioned It...
In truth, it was what can only be described as 'a piss poor effort'. My first proper route class orienteering race - not sure of the official terms, but my first one where there is a route of check points or 'controls', as I'm told they're called, to follow. It did not go anywhere close to how I thought it would. I was, quite literally a disgrace to all fell runners everywhere. I hang my head in shame. I, in no way, upheld the honour of fell running - I only hope I don't get excommunicated from the fra.

It all started brilliantly - I found the start - but from there it was all downhill. There were multiple courses available on entry ranging from easy (beginner) to hard (someone who knows what they're doing) - can you guess which I chose, me being a cocky sod? You'd have thought, being my first time, I'd plump for the easy end of the spectrum, but oh no, not I - nobber.
The blue course (hardest) consisted of twenty one check poi.., scratch that, controls. Each control is numbered and you have to make sure you don't stick your dibber - stop it - in the wrong hole - I said, stop it. So it can be confusing when you come across one that isn't on your route. Also, as the difficulty of the course increases the controls are more and more hidden. You almost end up checking under every goddam stone to see if the bloody thing is hiding there.
Anyway, less of all the talk of rules and regulations. Basically my course was 8km long and if I was running a marked route it would have taken me thirty five to forty minutes. Suffice to say, it took me a bloody sight longer. Quoting from the good book of Tony, FFS it took me forty five minutes just to find control number one! Some perspective on that, the winner only took forty one minutes for the entire bloody thing. And with a three hour cut off I almost packed it in on account of having no sodding chance of making it round. But I've never not finished a race I've started and I didn't intend to start then.
Slowly I managed to acclimatise to the stupidly high scale map - I'm used to OS Explorer and the orienteering map is a much higher scale so it puts all your timings out and the contours become much more detailed. What, on the OS map, would be contour-less and flat is filled with bloody millions of tiny contours on the orienteering map. All very confusing to a beginner.
So having eventually got to grips - partially to grips - with the map I started to get into the swing of it. It took me another twenty one minutes to get to control four so it was still looking doubtful I'd get round. But then it kind of all clicked into place. I got into the grove of the distances and timings and I was off.
Controls five, six, seven and eight were ticked off in rapid succession. Nine was tricky. Hidden amongst a myriad of tiny dimples and bumps. Ten was equally hidden. Mind you, it would help if I knew what all the control symbols meant, as the little icons in the instructions show you the way the control is hidden, ie in a dip, behind vegetation, on a rise, stream crossing etc. Knowing where to look would probably help a little - I'll have to do some homework to find out the meanings of the icons. 
Then I was onwards to eleven through nineteen in pretty quick order. Twenty was a bit of a faff as there were bloody hundreds of clumps of gorse - I had learnt the symbol for vegetation from a previous control so knew where to look, clever eh? No, didn't think so. And I got my bearing slightly wrong towards twenty one but didn't lose too much time. From there it was just a short run in to the finish.
In all I took just outside two hours and I ended up clocking 16km instead of the optimum 8km - bonus mileage - toot toot. The most annoying thing though is that I took more time to complete controls one to four than the entire rest of the course. If the course had started at four I might have done well.
So as I write this post and reflect - and despite an extremely poor showing - it was a bloody fun day out. And you can mark my words, 'I'll be back'...
Saturday, 22nd January 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Conversion Principle...

I have been busy this weekend. Busy with the carpentry tools... Yes, the mini-camper conversion is complete. Fully modular, so it can be removed completely in a couple of minutes. And it was the ultimate recycling project as I was able to re-use only parts from the old van. Okay, I guess wasn't exactly ultimate but it was good make use of what I already had.

I do have to make up some blackout blinds before I'll actually be able going camping proper and I also have the cooker module to construct. I've a few design concepts bubbling around in outline design but nothing concrete to take forward to detail design yet... So I retract my earlier statement that it's complete but the main bit is done at least.

And here's some pics...
Boot module, rear seats in normal position

Boot module, rear seats out and font seat down

Bed section in position

The finished mini-camper

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Back To The Mountains

And it looked at first as though I'd made a bad call. As we approached the race HQ the heavens opened and the rain came lashing down - I say we, I gave a lift to the Lawsonator - and if he spills his drink in the boot of my new car again it'll be the last lift he ever gets - from anyone, capiche?... The clouds soon moved away and the sun made an appearance. Turned out to be pretty spot on conditions in the end.

I enjoyed the run. It was nice to go steady and take in the views as I swept at the end of the field. I'm glad I volunteered to sweep because I would have struggled to race it and by sweeping I was back out there in the mountains again. Onwards from here...

Friday, October 14, 2016

Back On The Road Again...

Picked up my new second hand set of wheels - and all the other associated mechanical bits - this afternoon. I'm expecting to have that new car, must keep it clean feeling for somewhere in the region of three weeks before I slip back into it old habits and it turns into a mobile pigsty . 

I had a decent ride across on my crapped out mountain bike. I managed to get a few more of the gears operational this time so I was able to go a bit faster on the flat. It still wouldn't shift into to top gear but I had the use of all the lesser gears for the hills at least. Overall I was a good chunk quicker and it was interesting to peruse and compare the segments on Strava.

Looking forward to taking the new wheels on its maiden voyage to the mountains for tomorrow's Fan Brycheiniog fell race where I am helping out as race sweeper.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

All Set... take ownership of my very own old person mobility carriage - also known as a Citroen Berlingo. And you think I'm joking, it actually was a motability vehicle.

In the meantime I've been casting my eye over the options for kitting it out as a micro camper so I can get back out there into the hills again. There are a few off the shelf conversions available and they look pretty cool but require too much hard cash. They've given me some good ideas though. There has been much pen and ink going down in my design sketch book.

So anyway, I have my fingers crossed the rain stays away as I'll be on the bike again tomorrow...

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I'm Suffering From A Serious Case Of PCD...

That's premature car death in case you were wondering... Yes the Ceed is beyond economic repair, aka, dead - I really regret telling my folks on Sunday it was still going strong in response to the question as to how it was running - doh! It all made for an interesting commute home yesterday - on the back of a relay wagon, having come to a halt on the hard shoulder of the M5 near junction 17. Only added on 2 hours to the journey so I mustn't grumble.

All of that has brought forward my plans to get a Berlingo. I've been casting my eye over the used car listings for the last six months, trying to work out what's a good price, spec, etc.. I was intending to run the car for another year so I'm really only bringing the plans forward a little...

And today, now that I'm taking some impromptu time off work, I took a bike ride over to Coleford to take a look at a Berlingo I actually spotted in the listings last week. Took it for a test drive and subsequently signed up on the dotted line. Soonest I can take delivery - or more correctly, go and collect it - is Friday so it's holiday time all week.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Managed A Pootle

Been struggling a bit of late. I'll call it ticking over but it's not quite as good as that really. I need to get myself a goal. Still, some is better than none. Hopefully manage another something tomorrow...